View Full Version : allow me tointroduce myself and quick question!

9-Sep-2012, 01:50
Hello everyone,

I never in a million years though I would be asking questions in a LF forrum but life is funny that way (specially when you consider that until 2 years ago I had the latest Nikon FF digital equipment...all sold to go analouge 35mm Leica).
Last week while trying to sell one of my Leica lenses on a forrum here in Spain were I live, somebody suggested changing their entire Arca Swiss F line LF system with me including a couple of lenses. I had never thought of LF before but having now the opportunity to get the whole gear I started readinmg about it and it seems like something I would like (besides it seem like a good deal all the stuff I am geting in exchange for one lense, welcome to the incredebly expensive world of Leica lenses....). I love using the zone systm and its kinda tough with 35mm (what I do is open the lense and put a sticker on the film and take notes. Later in the dark room I separate them and process them in different times N+1 etc).

Now to my question (I might be having many if you dont mind!!). On the the lenses is a SCHNEIDER 58 XL/5,6 MC. I beleive this is a 16mm in the small format (35mm) world and it seems like and ULTRA wide angle to me...is this good for landscapes? Is it ONLY good for landscapes? What about chromatic abreviation?

And the real question is: can I use polarizing filters with it? Usually polarizing filters and wide angels arnīt friends.

If anyone can post pictures with this lense it would be swell.

Would you recomend this lense for landscapes?

Thanks everyone for your help!

kind regards

Brian Ellis
9-Sep-2012, 04:09
It's not an exact equivalent to 16mm in 35mm format because of the difference in aspect ratios between 35mm and 4x5. But it's certainly an extremely wide angle lens for 4x5. Whether it's good for "landscapes" or not depends on what you mean by "landscape" photography. If you mean standing up high and taking a photograph of as much of the vista in front of you as can be put on film, yes it certainly would accomplish that. Personally I don't photograph landscapes that way so it wouldn't be good for me. Just depends on how you see and photograph.

It can be difficult to compose and focus with a wide angle lens in 4x5 photography because of the light fall-off as you get near the edges of the ground glass. I don't think a 58mm lens would be the ideal lens with which to get started in large format photography for that reason. If you want a wide angle, something in the 90mm range to me would be better just because it's easier to use. But that's just my opinion.

I don't use that lens so I don't know about using a polarizer with it. Assuming someone makes a polarizer that would fit on the lens, I suppose it could be used. However, as you no doubt know using polarizers with wide angle lenses can result in very uneven skies. But someone who actually owns the lens could answer better than I can.

9-Sep-2012, 04:51
I agree with what Brian has already said, although effective wide angle landscape shots that I've seen usually are from what I think is a lower vantage point, making use of greatly enlarged forground elements to lead the viewer into the scene.

I bought myself a 65mm lens for my 4x5, but was only rewarded by inclusion of the scrubby vegetation that always seems to be at my feet here in the Mid-Atlantic. I find that I do better in the landscape with slightly longer than normal lenses, so I sold the 65 and make occasional use of a 90mm which, for me, is plenty wide.

Good luck with your intro to large format.

9-Sep-2012, 06:27
thanks guys, I could not agree more that a "normal" landscape can mean different things to different people....but its an absolute fair point to make that I should start with a lense that is more flexible in things I can do with it.....this guy also has a 90mm in his case but for what he wants for it (500 euro) plus what he is asking for his other equipment we fall about 200 Euro short of what I ask for my lense....so I will have to negotiate with him again.

9-Sep-2012, 07:39
Wides are definitely a matter of taste. Only you can decide the right mix for you. I personally like wides - I have 55mm, 75mm, 90mm, and 120mm. 90mm for me is actually the least used - the most used are the 75mm and the 120mm. But when I need 55mm, I need 55mm. For example, this shot http://western-light-imaging.com/galleries/Southwest/photos/Hickman_Bridge_Capitol_Reef_NP_2011_Nov.jpg would have had the open area below the arch cropped with the 75mm - there was no room to move back.

Another issue with very wide LF lenses is light falloff in the corners. This can be corrected with (relatively expensive) center filters. Probably more of an issue if you shoot transparency rather than negative film.

Regarding the rest of your potential kit...the Arca Swiss F is a really great camera - top notch. My first year in LF (I'm also a digital refugee), I shot with a Toyo 45AX, decided I really liked LF, and have now moved to the Arca system. In part because I could use my range of lenses (55-500, and hopefully 720 at some point) with less overall bulk than the Toyo (it needs a heavy and bulky extension back for long lenses), and in part because of the stellar reputation of the Arca system. All controls on the Arca are super smooth, natural, and easy to use. On the other hand, the Arca is one of the more expensive LF systems, so it seems prudent to offer the standard advice on this forum that you start with an inexpensive set up and decide whether LF is for you before spending lots of $$$.

Best of luck!


9-Sep-2012, 11:17
"...so it seems prudent to offer the standard advice on this forum that you start with an inexpensive set up and decide whether LF is for you before spending lots of $$$.

You said it Bob, thanks and lovely picture BTW